For all those who haven't tried Mandriva lately - By AdamWill

Posted by ProjectC 
By AdamWill (604569)
September 05, 2007

For all those who haven't tried Mandriva in a while, quite a lot has changed. It'd be great if you could try Mandriva again before posting comments. For instance, managing remote repositories is far easier than it used to be: you can configure a full set of official repositories from within the Mandriva package management tools. Instructions are at <a href="[wiki.mandriva.com] more applications available</a> [mandriva.com] .

We've made big improvements in overall polish and stability since the releases that many people remember badly (2005, 2006). 2007 Spring looks much better, has far fewer package quality problems and runs more stably than those releases on most systems. 2008 will be better again, there's been a lot of work done on improving overall package quality, and it includes a very good and recent kernel build with very good hardware support. For instance, we have probably the best graphics card detection and configuration system in a major distro. I'm pretty sure that 99% of cards from major manufacturers (Intel, NVIDIA, ATI) will be correctly detected and configured in 2008. Our support for VIA / S3 (Uni)chrome chips (which are used on VIA's popular mini-ITx motherboards, for e.g.) is better than any other major distro to my knowledge.

Since 2007 Spring, we have a public non-free repository (that is configured when you set up repositories following the instructions above), so it's easy for anyone to get stuff like the NVIDIA and ATI proprietary drivers, Intel wireless firmware, Sun Java and so on. For instance, for the NVIDIA / ATI drivers, just enable the repository and then re-run the graphics card configuration tool, and it will give you the option of using the proprietary driver.

Since 2007, we have official /backports repositories (in 2007 Spring and later, these are configured when you set up repositories, but not enabled by default for stability; you can enable them with a single click in the repository configuration tool). These contain up-to-date versions of popular applications. For instance, the 2007 Spring /backports repositories have amaroK 1.4.7, Compiz Fusion (0.5.2), VirtualBox 1.5.0, k3b 1.0.3, pidgin 2.0.1 (will update to 2.1 soon), avant-window-navigator latest SVN, brasero 0.6.0, deluge, gimmie 0.2.7, jokosher 0.9, mediatomb 0.10.0, miro, ntfs-3g 1.516, powertop 1.3, seamonkey 1.1.4, smplayer 0.5.21, tovid 0.30, transmission 0.72 and a *huge* amount of other updated packages (these are just some examples I picked). These are not officially supported, but they *are* built in a clean environment on the official Mandriva buildsystem and all built against each other, so they represent a contiguous set of packages that you will never have trouble using together, which is far better than the case on many other distributions where you have to use dozens of single-purpose or tiny third party repositories that are unofficial, not necessarily cleanly built, and often conflict with each other. There's a couple of other distros with /backports repositories to my knowledge, including Ubuntu, but Mandriva's are far bigger than any other distro and include far more useful packages.

so, yes, Mandriva is changing, quite a lot in fact. It'd be great if you'd give us another chance with 2008, read up on the forums - [forum.mandriva.com] [mandriva.com] - and the Wiki - [wiki.mandriva.com] [mandriva.com] - and see if your issues aren't improved.

On the Bugzilla situation - N7DR is not at all wrong in his criticism as it relates to earlier times. During the 2008 release cycle, we created a Bug Squad and I was appointed Bugmaster. The Bug Squad now triages all bugs reported, which has helped immensely with the response rate and time for newer issues. There have also been some maintainership changes which have meant that certain major distro components (KDE and the kernel, for instance) are now more responsive to bug reports.